Survival guide for entertaining

By
The Editor
Added
12 December, 2013

If you’ve put your hand up to host a Christmas party and are fretting as the date draws near, fear not. With our handy list of pointers for planning, you’ll have Christmas in the (party) bag this year.

1. Size matters

Any host worth their salt greets their guests with a drink. But if you plan to hold a cocktail-style affair with lots of standing around for drinks and canapés, ensure that the finger food you’re serving is just that: bite-sized pieces that are easy to handle and devour with one hand. No one wants to have to choose between their glass of bubbles and your delicious – but unwieldy – fist-sized sliders.

2. Old favourites always win

Classic recipes are always in style. Don’t be afraid to serve up old standards, the key is to put your own spin on them. Swap frozen sausage rolls for pork and fennel sausage rolls, or your packet party pies for gourmet mini shepherd’s pies. It’s all about putting a modern twist on your old-school favourites to keep your guests impressed and sated.

3. Timing is everything

Don’t leave your dinner guests hanging. If you have invited people for a sit-down dinner from 7pm, ideally the meal should be served an hour after arrival. The key is preparation. Make a list of what you want to cook a week before, go shopping and buy everything you need and, if you’re trying out new recipes, test them out on your friends and family first. But most importantly, make sure you leave extra time on the day to prepare the food – and yourself – so you don’t feel frazzled and spend the dinner dashing in and out of the kitchen.

4. Don’t run out

When it comes to entertaining, more is always more. Make extra of everything, and if it doesn’t get eaten, you’ll get to take the next night off cooking and devour your appetising appetisers like nobody’s watching. Even if you have asked guests to bring their own drinks, it’s always good to have a few extra bottles of everything on hand should anything run out. It is Christmas after all!

5. Keep it Simple

Don’t go making last-minute changes to your menu or challenging yourself to a recipe that you can never quite seem to get right. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail when it comes to entertaining. Have a food plan and stick to it. Cook recipes that you know like the back of your hand, or ones you have practiced before. This will save you from stress and potential disasters.


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